Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leap Year... Leap for Joy!

My students are so excited for all the fun activities this week with Leap Year and Dr. Seuss' birthday. I know I've been a bit absent this week with being sick and having parent teacher conferences... not the best mix! But I thought you'd love to see this awesome list of links that I found for Leap Year activities!


Fabulous!! I hope you find something awesome that you can use tomorrow!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

March Calendar Freebie from Creating and Teaching!

Have you seen this awesome freebie yet? Creating and Teaching's Erin has done a fabulous job of creating this set of March calendar cards. The adorable pieces show an ABC pattern as a review. My kids will love these!

See, aren't they so stinkin' cute?!?!

I definitely already grabbed my copy from her TPT site. She even has it on her Teacher's Notebook site too. Click here to go straight to her post.

Leave some love for her while you're there. Everyone loves some comments :)

I'll be back with something new and cool from my room tomorrow... or at least this weekend... my adorable  little pumpkins love me so much that they have decided to pass along their current illnesses. So I now have a sore throat, stuff nose, and a cough... along with more parent conferences tomorrow.

Have a happy Friday tomorrow!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I love when it's already done!

So, I was just surfing (what else) Pinterest when I saw the picture:

Pinned Image

I would love to be able to tell you what awesome website this came from but this was a user posted photo. The reason I love it so much, besides the fact that it's a) adorable, b) cute, and c) organized... is that I've already done it!!! See:

See mine tucked right back in there in the corner? I have cute little labels on mine. Too bad they aren't rainbow colored and pretty like the ones in the first picture. But man do I love having it organized! I also have a substitute binder drawer. It has made my life so much easier this year :) I highly encourage you to make a week tower.

I used to have a file folder for each day of the week. But this year, there is no way I could do that with all of the adorable little books and such that the kids do!

What's your best organizing trick?

I missed you!

Wow, this week has been a blur! I can't believe it's Wednesday already. I had Monday off for President's Day. But of course, that meant that my son got sick on Sunday so we went to the doctor on Monday. He wasn't too bad off, just conjunctivitis...emphasis on junk. The doctor said he had to stay out of school yesterday. So, today was the "Monday" of our week.

The day was going interestingly enough (especially since being out Monday and Tuesday had me all out of whack and I forgot about a conference I had this morning! I've never ever done that!!). Of course right after specials and snack, the day care called and I had to figure out getting a sub in the middle of the day and rescheduling the conferences that I had for this afternoon.

Here's hoping the rest of the week goes smoother!

I just wanted to share a quick idea that I saw on Pinterest and have applied in my classroom. The charts below are two different ways that my students will be learning on how to evaluate their own work. The hardest part of making these was to figure out what I considered to be "4 Star Kindergarten" work. I did two different charts: one for writing and one for worksheet activities.

My students seem to have two main habits. Habit number one, when it comes to writing, they do great pictures but forget about the writing. Habit number two, they do the work well on worksheet activities but then totally scurry through the coloring part of the sheet.

I'm hoping that these two habits will be fixed at least a little bit. It's a goal of mine to have the students being able to do a little bit of self-evaluating. Next year I might work towards them setting their own goals too.

How do your students set goals or self-evaluate?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

New units on Teachers Pay Teachers- Friends of Ten

Hello to my awesome new followers!!

I'm so excited to be adding to my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I love this newest unit for Friends of Ten. We've been working on our number sense in my room. This unit is great for practice in Kindergarten or reviewing in First grade. I've included a simple addition sentence sheet, concentration/memory, and number match-up. Click on my button on the right hand side or right here: <a href="http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Teaching-With-Grace/%22%3E%3Cimg src="http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/images/settings/silver.xlarge.badge.png" border="0" width="207" height="49" alt="Kindergarten, 3rd - TeachersPayTeachers.com"/></a>

I hope you enjoy :) I'm saving my pennies to be able to upgrade my account so I can have all of my digital downloads available.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Washington or Lincoln?

Since I'm new to Kindergarten. I'm still feeling out the different Holidays and what I do on each of them. Although, I have discovered that I love to make hats and head bands! Since we are out on Monday, we will be celebrating President's Day on Tuesday. I've been trying to decide if I want to make a George Washington hat or an Abraham Lincoln hat. Well, as I was searching on Pinterest earlier I found these two below:

How to Make an Easy George Washington Hat

How to Make an Abe Lincoln Top Hat for President's Day

As much as I would love to make both, I just don't have 19 Quaker Oatmeal containers lying around. Silly me ;)

But the Washington one is so easy! I'm definitely doing that one on Tuesday :)

If you check out the site that has the great ideas, you'll also see a ton of other great ideas for next week and all other great holidays. I'll definitely be coming back to this site!

Kids Crafts & Activities

Enjoy looking! I'm off to look at how to make a George Washington wig...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pinterest helps me organize!!

Mostly, Pinterest makes me spend a lot of time looking at everyone elses' ideas. But every once in awhile I try some of them out. Here's one of my newest "Pin-ccomplishments"... yep, that has a ring to it :)

Muffins anyone? This is one of the best things ever! I used to have small shower caddy type thing in the middle but it was waaay too small once I added markers, colored pencils, regular pencils, glue, and scissors. This works so well now! They can move them around as they need to and it stays nice and organized. Looove this!

Have you had a successful Pin-ccomplishment lately?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How do you make comprehension deep? Linky Party!

After yesterday's post, I got to thinking about what others do for their higher readers. Then I started thinking about how you simply deepen the comprehension and learning for ALL of your students. That's truly the most important. So, there fore I came up with an awesome idea... a linky party! It'll be my first linky party here and I sure do hope that it's a success!

Please do 2 things for me:
1) Leave a link to any fantastic reading idea you have. Any grade level, new or old, as many as you want, anything that is totally awesome!

2) Please do a blog post about this linky party. I'd love for other teachers to be able to see all the awesome ideas that everyone has!


Alright, get set, and GO!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bring it on down!

When I first came to Kindergarten, it was definitely a whole new world when compared to Third grade. But as the weeks have turned into months, I have adapted and thrived in my new world. I really love Kindergarten. But some of my kids would have been doing just fine starting in First grade! Two of my students are reading at an EOY First grade to BOY Second grade. So, what to do for their reading to help deepen and strengthen their reading skills? Book clubs of course!

Yep, book clubs in Kindergarten. That's how I roll ;) But, not just book clubs.. they also get a schema board!

Schema, if this is a new word to you, is your background knowledge... it's anything and everything that you already know that you can bring to your reading to help deepen your understanding, questions, connections, etc.

Below is a picture of the overall schema board. It's just simply a file folder that is seperated into thirds. I taught my two pumpkins to use post it notes to record their thinking and put them in each column. Or you could have them write directly on the file folder.

Here is a close up of the headings on each of the columns. I'm really excited to see what my kiddos come up with when we meet for the first time tomorrow.
Since the students are higher readers they are able to read chapter books and that definitely makes a BIG difference. Both of my students are reading Magic Tree House books. This is way more beneficial for them (in my opinion) than Guided Reading since they will be working on reading stratgies instead of the basics of reading.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to help anyone else start this in their room!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wow! The Liebster Award! Thank you Katie!!

Wow! I am just blown away! My very first comment on this blog and it's an award winning one... really! Katie Lyon over at Teaching: The Art of Possibility gifted me with this amazing award. I am so touched and honored! The great thing is that you get to spread the love!

Here are the rules:
1) Thank the giver :)
2) Proudly put the award on your blog
3) Pick 5 blogs with less than 200 followers and share the love with them!

It's kind of like Christmas! I do love, love, love to give presents!

Here are the amazing blogs that I have chosen:

1) Mrs. Grant's Kinder-Gators: Her site is so cute! She is very new to blogging and is still feeling her way around in this world. I love her ideas so far! I just saw this adorable book genre chart the other day. I'm totally thinking about doing that next year!

2) Mrs. Olson's Phenomenal Pre-K: This is a fantastic site for ideas. Her ideas are great and so developmentally appropriate for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and even First. It's wonderful!

3) Teach Play Smile: Even though I'm teaching Kindergarten now, I still love reading great ideas for the upper grades. This is a blog that Ihave found lots of ideas to pin to my "If I ever go back to 3rd" board on Pinterest!

4) Miss Toffee's Class: This is one of my favorite new blogs! I have added a ton to my favorites list lately and this is one of the ones I go back to very frequently. She has a ton of great ideas and freebies that she shares!

5) Seriously Primary: This site is seriously great! (I couldn't help it!) I am in love with so many of the great ideas on this site. Next year I will be using brownie points like she does!

I hope everyone takes a minute to head over to each blog and leave some love!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Phonics are Phenomenal!

Phonics are something that, for me, were barely covered in my education classes in college. I think that I must have been raised during the 'sight word only' era. So having to teach and explain phonics are definitely very new to me. One of the ways that I have discovered is easiest for me to teach them is through music. When I was a Third grade teacher I never, ever would have thought that I'd love to sing to a whole group of students. But of course, we all know and love Dr. Jean.

Dr. Jean & Friends

BUT did ya'll know that she has a blog too!?!?!?! It's awesome! I love the song that she posted today. You definitely need to go check it out! What's better than singing about CVCs to the tune of the Wheels of the Bus?

I hope everyone had a great day today!  My day was a tad hectic...you know, Mom being declared almost cancer free, son throwing up 4 times, having to get a last minute sub... all the normal stuff :) Here's hoping tomorrow is "more boring"!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Groundhog, Groundhog...

I know that Groundhog has come and gone but I wanted to share some great ideas with you that I used and found this year. Since I'm new to the grade level, my fellow Kindergarten teachers were super amazing and helped me out with a ton of great things! I wish that I could share the copies with everyone but they pretty much all came from The Mailbox and Teacher's Helper.

One of my favorite ideas was to make a groundhog cupcake. I have really gotten into the whole cooking aspect of Kindergarten and was really looking forward to this one. On Wednesday night, I had to make the cupcakes since the students needed un-iced cupcakes. Below is a picture of the cutest creations ever!

My students had a blast making them! Of course, you could also use these for another activity and say they are mice too. I just love how cute they are though.

A coworker of mine also discovered the great blog site: Really Roper

This site was great for a quick introduction to what Groundhog Day is all about! She has linked up several cute youtube videos including an adorable song. (I'm totally getting into this whole cooking and song-singing thing!)

I think my other favorite thing that they did was make an adorable groundhog puppet. I know, I know, it doesn't sound very educational. But I promise that I did do other things that were educational! They made a book about groundhog day, wrote a story about what an animal (their choice) would do if it saw it's shadow, groundhog adding, and several other very educational things. I just happened to throw some fun things in there as well. If you think about it, the fun things that I had them do are all very helpful towards developing their fine motor skills :)

I hope everyone has a great Monday today and I'll be bringing you another great post tomorrow!

Total fail!

Yep, you read that right! I love to share ideas that went well but every so often we all have those ideas that just do NOT work well. My newest blunder started out as a great idea. I wanted to give my kiddos a new way to practice their number writing. So, I decided to find a way to make a bag with something squishy and fun inside that they could write in. Well, I tried using paint but that didn't work. I also saw some great ideas about using clear hair gel with glitter mixed in. Wow... it so didn't work when I tried it on my 'sample bag.' So, instead the kids got to use white boards and markers :) Not brand-new to them but we hadn't used them in awhile so it was still fun!

Here's a link from The Hippie Housewife that I might try the next time I want a 'Squishy Bag' for the kids to write with!

Image from The Hippie Housewife
Her bags even look better than mine did! Maybe I just put too much paint in it... hmmm... Does anyone have any advice?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Two awesome weekend finds!

Happy Sunday everyone! I'm pretty stoked about the two finds that I just discovered on Pinterest. I loooove Pinterest! If you have an account, follow me! If you don't and you want one, just leave a comment with your e-mail address and I'll send you an invite! (I heard on the radio the other day that if you apply for an invite through Pinterest it is literally months before you'd get one. Crazy right?)

Anyways, below are the two awesome finds. I hope enjoy them! The first is a site with an incredible list of math literature for so many different topics and concepts. Check it out here!

Pinned Image

One of the best things is that she keeps updating it and adding more books as she discovers them! This is definitely a K-5 must!

The second site is more for the lower grades but can definitely be adjusted to meet the upper grades too! Second Story Window has these awesome posts about Busy Bags for toddlers.

This is so great for beginning of the year Kindergarteners. Really, all year long it'd be great! I have several students right now (in the 3rd 9 weeks) that would benefit more from practicing their skills with this type of object instead of what I have them do now...Read to Self. One in particular who doesn't Read to Self... he does more Talk to Self... or Talk to Someone..... or Look at Wall.... or Look at Shoes... you get it ;) If you click on the linked picture, it will take you right to SSW's post where she has written directionson how to make ALL of the Busy Bags! Isn't that awesome? Thank you, thank you Second Story Window!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Math Every Day!

Each month I send home a calendar with math problems on it for my students to complete at home. There are lots of different sites out there where you can get these from for various grade levels. There is a site that my administrators told us about a couple months ago that I just LOVE to use! The Math Corner is an excellent resource for many different math items: resources, math in your world, games, and more! There are a ton of great resources for all elementary levels.

The calendars are an excellent thing to send home with an incentive for turning them back in at the end of the month. My students can earn Super Tickets that they turn in for treats from the treasure box. (It's great for counting, needs and wants, and cause/effect!) I love that my parents totally support this! I have over half my class turn in their calendars this month. It's definitely catching on in my room! It's great to have the parents support their child's learning even with something so simple as one math problem a day!

Have a great day!